Henley 2015 – Day 5

The ERC press team would like to apologize to all athletes, club members and fans for the delay in getting this report out to you. So called “day jobs” appear to be getting in the way of efficient and quick press coverage of the final two regatta days. Unfortunately, the promised summary of all weekend races has not been completed yet. Below you will find reports of the Saturday morning racing. Saturday Finals and Sunday Finals to follow.

On Saturday morning Steve Payne, Kendra Hartley and the Open Men’s Eight (c. Encarnacion, s. Altman, Lemire, Stephens, Carr, Hohnstein, Findlay, Rodriguez, b. Harrower) stiffened the gearing on their racing sleds to dash their way into the finals over the 500 m distance. Steve duly delivered the goods and set himself up with a chance to retake the title he won in 2012. Kendra and the Open Men’s 8+ narrowly missed out on the qualifying spots for the final by placing fourth. Kendra has really excelled over the 500 m distance in recent weeks and looks forward to another crack at the NWIRA regatta in one and half weeks time (which offers an even more dashing 400 m event).

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The team tested the limits of their stroke coaches as things heated up in the 500m dash events

The first race over the full 2000 m distance with Edmonton participation was a heat of the Lightweight Men’s 4x event. The ERC boat was crewed by Mark Bonar, Ole Tietz, Dillon Peters and Quinn Brandly. The Edmonton flowers fancied their chance after the winning the Open quad events at the BC Championships and the Alberta Open, thus racing as provincial champions of two provinces. However, Dillon “the knowledge” Peters was not easily fooled, misled or lulled into a false sense of security. Tapping into encyclopedic database of all things rowing, Dillon informed his crew mates that they were to face an Ottawa Rowing Club entry that included both the lightweight double and the lightweight single that had represented Canada at the World University Games this summer and a Hanlan crew that came into the race as reigning Row Ontario champions in the lightweight 4x. Appropriately scared and respectful of the challenge that this heat posted, the Edmonton boys did not waste time waffling and took their boat down the course to finish in second place behind Ottawa and set up another Henley final.  

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Scouting reports turned up some interesting results, but the lightweight men’s quad of Mark, Ole, Dillon, and Quinn overcame the odds and piloted their boat straight into the final

Amanada “Ginger” Cinnamon, Aline “Baby” Belzil, Mallory “Posh” Turner and Andrea “Sporty” Labrecque were looking to spice it up in their heat of the Open Women’s 4x. Competition in the event was very tough, as all the top single and double scullers came together in the big boat to “race so hard you know it won’t last”. This headless dash for the finish line was not endorsed by the basic squad who know that speed without direction is no true speed at all: “Slow it down, read the sign, to know just where you are going.” The Spice squad sculled a clean race, while most of the competition suffered from “stop right now!” {Note: crab catching} on multiple occasions, unfortunately the Edmonton boat fell just short of “thank you very much!” and missed out on the qualifying spots by half a length. The girls have since considered adding a fifth member to their line-up to contest events in the coxed quad (4x+) in the future. Inside sources indicate that the front-runner for the last spot is Ali “Scary” Williams.

The Payne train of  “Pain”, “Whirlwind”, “Fury” and “Precision” took to the waters of the Martindale Pond to administer a serving of justice to those who dared defy them. Putting the Fantastic Four to shame in their Edmonton Rowing Club speed suits were Steve “Pain” Payne, Michael “Whirlwind” Hohnstein, Colin “Fury” Findlay and Luis “Precision” Rodriguez in their humble Open Men’s 4x vessel. Our heroes raced past the astonished crowd in blaze of shiny Green and Golden stripes to save the weak and punish the wicket. Failure is not option for these four Men and it is the brotherly ties that unite them which provide the strength and courage to keep going when all others stop. In the words of Fury Findlay: “When I want to give up, it is the drive from my crew mates that keeps me going till the end.” Colin’s drive did not fail and the quad progressed to the Henley final by placing second in the heat.

Next to take a ride into the danger zone were Connor “Maverick” Stephens and John “Goose” Carr flying a solo mission in the U23 Lightweight Men’s 2-. Pilot and Navigator were disappointed to miss a chance at single combat, as the other ERC crew of Torrin “Iceman” Lemire and Ben “Viper” Altman were drawn into a different heat. Maverick and Goose turned on the afterburner and requested a fly-by as they came past the Island, regrettably the umpire was not sympathetic: “Negative Maverick, the pattern is full.” Iceman and Viper, meanwhile, struggled in the head wind and decided that victory was ”too close range for missiles” and opted to “switch to guns” instead. The ERC elite fighter pilots engaged the enemy in truly courageous fashion, but had to abandon their mission prematurely and return to base after finishing fourth in both heats.  

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Friendship never ends in the women’s quad of Amanda, Aline, Mallory, and Andrea

After racing in the first heat of the regatta on Tuesday morning, the ERC also had the privilege to race in the last heat of the 2015 Henley regatta. The U23 Lightweight Women’s 4- of Theora Gray, Georgie Hyland, Rachel Koortbeek and Erin Watchman represents a composite of the “Rice Krispy Squares” and the “Kripsy Minis” {Krispy Minis, the: self-assigned nickname for the Junior Lightweight Women’s squad; derived from “Rice Krispy Squares”; currently a trending hashtag on twitter due to large fanbase}. Rowing clubs thrive and controversy and drama; after “Discrepancy Gate” was resolved late on Friday afternoon, the “Mini-Kripsy-Mini” conundrum soon took its place on Saturday morning. The question whether the “Mini-Kripys” or “Kripsy-Minis” should be the appropriate nickname for the Junior Lightweight Women’s squad lies at the heart of this debate, with an even split of supporters for both camps. The press team is interested to hear from you and any “heavyweights” who’d like to wade in on the debate. Email Ben Altman to make your voice heard. The Krispy composite raced well to finish just outside the qualifying ranks in fourth. The Girls had a serious chance of reaching the third place qualifying spot, but were stopped by rough water near the finish line.

Further reports to follow, the team asks for just a few days of grace.

– Press Officer Tietz